August 14, 2021

5 Stunning Fall Foliage Destinations near Seattle

When a chilly breeze blows through the city each autumn, outdoors is the best place to be. There are plenty of awesome hikes to try near the Emerald City, but our favorites feature the stunning colors of the season. The best time to explore the trails and parks is October and November. Whether you stay close to the city center or venture out toward the mountains, you’re sure to enjoy the beauty of the colorful hues of fall against the moody skies of the Pacific Northwest.

1. Kubota Garden

Kubota Garden is a historic Japanese-style garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle. This beautiful 20-acre garden is maintained by Seattle Parks & Recreation and is free to enjoy. During the fall, the energy of Kubota Garden is electrified by the deep red, orange and yellow hues of the season. Admire the changing leaves of Japanese maples as the gurgling waterfall flows into the serene fish pond. Pick up a detailed map to take a self-guided tour of the grounds.

2. Ira Spring Trail to Mason Lake

The hour-long drive out of Seattle is worth it to hike Ira Spring Trail, especially in the fall. Named in honor of a notable lifelong Washington trail advocate, this round-trip trek takes hikers past lovely meadows and across steep slopes. Depending on where you start, the trail is six to eight mile long and leads to Mason Lake, a beautiful alpine pool. Experience a variety of natural beauty along the way, including leaves changing color, waterfalls, and views of Mt. Rainier.

Peak Fall Foliage at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania

3. Cedar River Trail

The 17.4-mile Cedar River Trail winds alongside the Cedar River from the Cedar River Watershed north into Renton’s Lake Washington. Much of the trail is paved, so it’s a perfect family-friendly trail for biking, hiking and more! Yellow and orange leaves line the trail with scenic color. This trail is perfect for those who love the feel of leaves crunching underfoot.

4. Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum is home to more species of deciduous trees than anywhere else in the northwest United States. In the fall, these thriving trees turn into a warm symphony of color. The 230-acre arboretum is one of the two sites of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. The spectacular grounds are located on the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle. Learn more about the arboretum’s autumn season.

5. Point Defiance Park

For a burst of colors and beautiful bay views, head south on I-5 to Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. The 760-acre park has something for everyone. Experience trails, gardens, beaches, a boardwalk, zoo and aquarium. Formerly a military reservation in the 1840s, the old-growth forest explodes with color each year in the fall.

After exploring the beauty of the local flora, return to your welcoming accommodations. Located on Capitol Hill, Shafer Baillie Mansion is the ideal place to stay when you visit Seattle. Fuel up each morning with a delicious breakfast, and rest each night in an ultra-comfortable bed. Learn more about what to do in the electric Capitol Hill neighborhood.